Answering one of your original questions: yes the timing marks on the balancer will show TDC two times: once on the compression stroke and once on the exhaust stroke. If you want an easy way to tell which is which, remove the drivers side valve cover and watch the rockers. At TDC compression both valves will be closed. (TDC exhaust will have the exhaust valve open). Another way is to remove #1 spark plug and crank the engine over while holding your thumb over the spark plug hole, when the pressure blows past your thumb, that's compression.
Do you have a points-type ignition still? If I'm reading you right, the way you set the timing really won't really work well enough to get you close. The right way to do it with the engine off is to start by doing what you did, then with the distributor cap still off and the clamp loose, turn the distributor body until you see/hear the points open. That's the "point" where the coil will actually fire. Clamp it down there and it should be close enough to allow the motor to run. Of course you'll want to re-check and reset with a good timing light once you have it up and running.